Chapel Porth to Towan Cross Walk
Start & Finish: National Trust Car Park, Chapel Porth, Cornwall (Map)
Explore this 2.5 mile, dog friendly walk of the Cornish coast from the secluded Chapel Porth Beach to Towan Cross, and discover its rich history as a thriving mining industry.
- Start at the rear of the car park in the southernmost corner, just to the right of the café. Cross over the footbridge behind the café and follow the path inland up Chapel Coombe. You may want to visit the beach first at low tide.
- Continue up the valley, keeping to the path. Beneath the gorse and heather the slopes are littered with mine shafts, wheel pits, spoil heaps and the ruins of dressing floors.
- You’ll soon pass the South West Coast Path, heading uphill on your right.
- As the path curves round the slope, you’ll see Charlotte United engine house come into view.
- As you pass just below Charlotte United, where the path crosses a small bridge, look for orange stains on plants and soil where iron hydroxide has washed down the old channels which carry water from the flooded mine workings.
- Follow the path through groves of willow, elder, blackthorn and sycamore.
- Continue on the path to eventually emerge onto the minor road near the hamlet of Mingoose.
- Turn right and follow the road to reach the junction opposite the Victory Inn.
- Turn right at the junction, walk along the verge for 25m, then turn right onto the bridleway to Porthtowan.
- Continue along the bridleway with views northward to St Agnes Beacon.
- Where the bridleway joins a wide stony path, turn right and walk towards the distant ruin of Great Wheal Charlotte.
- Follow the path seawards as it crosses a bare expanse of yellowish mine waste. Even heather can’t grow here as the heavy metal content of the soil is too toxic. Open and filled-in mineshafts, covered with conical grids known as Clwyd caps, dot the landscape.
- Continue along the path to reach the summit of Mulgram Hill.
- Descend from the summit down the wide track towards the car park. Built in 1944 by American troops stationed at St Agnes Head, the track is known locally as the American Road.
- When you reach the path at the valley bottom, turn left and return to your starting point.